The best souvenir I ever heard of was a giant wheel of cheese that my friend Era smuggled out of her native Albania.
This was not just any cheese. It was 20 pounds of stinky, sheep-milk kashkaval, the hard cheese found throughout the Balkans. And of course, such an item is virtually guaranteed to be on the U.S. Customs no-no list for importation; had they searched her luggage and found the wheel, it could have been quite the scene. But they didn’t, and Era was eating Albanian sheep cheese all year.
In the spring of 1979, at the height of the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, my wife Robin and I were among many volunteers who traveled to the Soviet Union for the express purpose of aiding and abetting the efforts of Zionist refuseniks.
Q - I have always been under the impression that cremation and tatoos are forbidden by Jewish law. Yet the recent funeral for Amy Winehouse was very Jewish in nature although the singer — who was amply tattooed — had asked to be cremated. Is cremation now accepted in Jewish quarters?
It’s a common complaint during the nine days – “There is nothing to eat! Let’s order pizza?” Truth is it is truly not hard to get through what amounts to a week of meat-free fare if you get a little inventive. How about a crispy tofu salad? Some Chana Masala?
If you want to know the truth, I’ve spent most of my life lost, and I’m not being profound.
Which explains why I got completely turned around somewhere in Afula.
Of course, I blamed the map. Where was that sneaky little Route 71 that the map had so magnanimously promised? And why, instead, was I stuck at a fork in the road with two other choices that eluded me?
Naturally, I turned to the gentleman in the car next to me for help.
In the weeks before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on the site of the former Twin Towers is taking shape in Lower Manhattan — and one item slated for the permanent exhibition is drawing particular, and sometimes negative, notice. American Atheists, a nonprofit organization, has filed suit against the inclusion in the memorial of a 17-foot-tall steel cross — two construction beams — that was discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
There was a time when a vacation in Argentina automatically meant Buenos Aires. The country’s capital city — home to tango, Latin America’s biggest Jewish community and a third of the Argentine population — was, for many North Americans, the only place on the tourism radar.